Not sure where I found the first photo but I picked the
second one up in Monroe, LA. Maybe someone would like to see these.
USMC 1969-72 SGT
Short Timer's Stick
Here is a short timer's stick from 1957, Camp Hague, Oki. 12th Marines, H&S battery.
Jacobs Lang - 56/62
See If The Cockroaches
Hello Sgt Grit!
Back again with another true story from the land of milk and
Vietnam - Liberty Bridge - 1969... Well There we were. Fox
Company, 1st Plt, 2/5 Security Detail, and it was a beautiful
sun-shiny-day! We were just-a-strollin' back and forth across
the bridge makin' sure the local Jack-A-Muffins weren't
getting into mischief when we spotted a jeep zipping down the
road our way with a giant searchlight mounted on it... Is
there a U.S.O. show coming to an HOA? We wondered...
Instead of passing us by, the driveer slowed down to a stop
in front of me... "Hey Marine! Where is your C.O.? I got
orders to stay here and sweep the bridge tonight." We looked
at the dog-faced Soldier who was a Spec-4 and about my age
and started laughing, and said, " Please give me your full
name and serial number Soldier." "Why?" He asked. "So we will
know where to send your remains after you turn on that light
tonight!" Our Platoon Commander, LT. Newson checked his
orders and explained to him that Liberty Bridge was not the
place to be flashing his pretty light around at night as it
may make the bad boys of the neighborhood curious.
So during the wee hours he would flick the searchlight on to
see if the cock-roaches would freeze like they do when you
turn on the kitchen light and move his position to the other
side of the bridge.
As the sun came up we were shooting the breeze and he asked
my name. "Ivie," sas I. "Ivie?" Says he. "You got a brother
in the Army?" "Yeah, I say, Robert Ivie...just went home, was
up at Camp Carroll near Khe Sanh." All of a sudden his eyes
get big and wide and he screams in my face; "You're Hawkeye's
brother? (This kid was off his rocker...)
Dinky Dao, too much Army food, look at him jumping up and
down. "No, no no! You don't understand, I was with your
brother for the last six months! He drove a 10-ton wrecker
and he took me under his wing! He told me all about you! I
can't believe it! Hawkeye's brother!"
After calming him down with soothing words and a cool drink
of bug juice, he told us all about my brother "Hawkeye" and
his shotgunning crew of bad-azz retrievers who taught him the
ins-and-outs of the Nam to keep him alive... After hearing
all the details, I was pretty proud of my brother (The Army
Puke). And as he pulled away to return to Hill 35, I told him
I would give my brother his regards... That is... after I
find out who named him "Hawkeye"!
Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters
Always remember the good stuff as well!
Cpl. "Chip" Ivie
Returned to MCRD after an absence of 47 years to watch a
recruit graduation ceremony. Fox company consisting of 5
platoons. Roughly 300 recruits being formally made into
Marines, after 13 weeks of intense training and discipline.
The Drill was highly impressive. The average age was 19, all
but a small few were high school graduates. 10 were college
graduates. All were fit and lean. Congratulations to all.
After almost 50 years, if called upon I would attempt to do
it all again. Semper Fi.
Sgt. Artillery Fire Direction Center
I know as of 9 January 1987 (the day I graduated Plt 1007
Parris Island) we did squat thrusts.
To MGySgt Mackin:
Had the same weapons in the fall of 1966: M-14 at PI and M-1
at ITR. Got to 'Nam in 1969 and the M-14's were long gone.
As a young brown bar my Sgt. Maj. "gave" me a 12 gauge
shotgun as I headed out of Dong Ha bound for Vandy. Can't
remember the make/model of the shotgun.
LtCol, USMCR (Ret)
We didn't start using combination locks until ITR. I remember
it was a pain in the butt when you came off liberty, after
lights out and wanted to get into your locker, and all you
had was a book or matches or your Zippo lighter, and hoped it
wasn't out of fluid!
I missed the original story about M-1s being used for
qualification in 1965 at Parris Island, but I agree with
MGySgt Mackin about the M-14. I arrived at P.I. on June 15,
1965 and we used M-14s. The first M-1 that I used was at
Camp Geiger during ITR.
CWO-4 M. Weaver
Must have been an East Coast / West Coast thing. I had the
honor of attending my introduction to the Marine Corps
Brotherhood at MCRDSD. Left over right and still do to this
This is a reply to MGySgt. Jim Mackin's question about the
M-14 and WWII ammo. Not possible since the M-14 didn't come
into service until around 1960. Not sure when the Marine
Corps got theirs, but I was issued one at PI in July, 1962.
I was a member of Plt. 352, SSgt. Ed Flynn was our SDI and
was a great man.
We qualified on the M-14 and had to turn it in before
graduation day. When we got to ITR at Camp Geiger, we were
issued M1's that had seen better days, but they worked just
fine. We did use old WWII ammo at Geiger. Probably ate old
WWII or Korean War C-Rations as well.
Cpl of Marines
Thanks for sending me this article. I was an Infantry Platoon
Commander under Lt Col. Utter 1/7 in Operation Utah. It was a
tough day and I was wounded that first day. God Bless the
Marine Corps. Semper Fi.
Sgt Bisher and Operation Utah:
The USMC has never owned CH-47 Chinooks. We fly CH-46 Sea
Knights as shown in the photo with the very interesting
Semper Fidelis, John
Colonel John R. Bates USMC (ret)
Speedy Gonzalez '59-'63, then forgot bad parts '67-'70, and
retired out of Nam. Always a Marine.
Yo, all from texas.
In Sgt. Bisher's article he mentioned that the helos they
landed in were Chinooks. The accompanying photo shows a CH-46
Sea Knight, tail code YT, belonging to HMM-164. Army had the
"Sh-thooks" as we called them, not the Marines.
In the recent newsletter the article has photo of YT-6
(HMM-164) doing a troop insert. At the end of the article it
identifies the aircraft as Chinooks. The following
corrective information is provided. The proper name for the
CH-46 is SeaKnight, the Army's CH-47 is called a Chinook.
The other item, YT-6 could not have been used on 4-5 March
1966 because HMM-164 did not arrive in DaNang Harbor until 8
I have provided this information from my cruisebook for
HMM-164 for 1966-67 in RVN and Marines and Helicopters,
1962-1973 dated 1978 from the History and Museums Division of
Headquarters, Marine Corps.
Re: Operation Utah
I would like to respond to the letter on Operation "Utah". I
was an automatic rifleman in Bravo 1/7. On the morning of 5
March 1966, we Sparrowhawked into the LZ at An Tuyet(1) to
secure the two disabled helos, which were H34s and not CH46s.
The CH46 Sea Knights did not arrive in theater until later in
the year. Bravo Co. set up a perimeter around the LZ as Col.
Utters and Col. P.X. Kelly's battalions pursued the NVA 21st
Regiment northward toward Chau Ngai.
Mid-afternoon on the 5th, at least a battalion of the 21st
charged off the hill mass to our south and west, running head
long into my platoon. Some of them came within 10 meters of
our line. It was the only time in my Vietnam tour that I
actually looked enemy soldiers right in the eye. We lost my
squad leader, my fire team leader, the other member of my
fire team, and the machine gun squad leader on my left flank.
Realizing that our perimeter was stretched too thin, our
C.O., Captain Robert Prewitt ordered a tactical fall back
into a smaller, more defensible perimeter with the disabled
helos inside. The NVA continued to put pressure on us into
the hours of darkness utilizing mortars and 12.7 mm anti-
We pre-registered artillery all around our perimeter, which
was about the size of half a football field. Shortly
thereafter, the NVA launched the first of their massed
assaults on us. It came from the south right toward my
platoon. By now we were short on ammo, and had fixed
bayonnets an hunkered down. As the wave of about 125 NVA
troops got to about 50 meters from our lines, they were
completely obliterated by our pre-registered arty. I thank
God for our Gunny and our radioman for such coolness under
pressure. This happened twice more, from the west and from
the north, with the same results. I witnessed the assaults
from the south and the north, and can attest to the fact that
no fewer than 200 NVA died in those two attacks.
Our last KIA occured sometime after midnight when a squad of
NVA slipped to within about 5 meters of the north side of the
perimeter. Pfc. Gary Sooter saw them and stood to take them
under fire with his automatic rifle. He killed 5 or 6 before
being killed by small arms fire. For his action, which broke
up the attack, Pfc. Sooter was awarder the Silver Star.
This ran on a little longer than I intended. Just wanted to
get Garys' story out there. For a more complete story of that
night, Google "Fix Bayonets".
Sergeant Charles Setzenfand
Sergeant Roy Higgins
Corporal Mario Kitts
Lance Corporal John Henry Bell
Private First Class Gary Sooter
There is a lot of scuttlebutt concerning chow circulating
through the newsletter of late. My experiences were limited
to MCRD San Diego, Mainside Camp Pendleton, MCSSS Camp
Johnson, and various chow halls in Okinawa. There was not a
great deal of variety from chow hall to chow hall, no matter
where you happened to be, and in my book, it was all good.
Pretty standard. I have no complaints on the quality or the
The only exception was MCSSS, where they had a different set
up going on. The chow hall was contracted to civilians, so I
was surprised to find that the quality was not up to Marine
Corps standards. One would think it would be better, but
this was not the case. They served catfish with the heads
still on for dinner two weeks straight! Uhg. To my way of
thinking, there is not a better breakfast than SOS with raw
I once attempted to recreate the hamburger gravy out of
nostalgia, and had limited success. It was nowhere near the
same. The best chow hall was on Camp Foster. LtCol Tallman
was the OIC of all the chow halls in Okinawa, and we worked
with his wife at the CFAO. I will always remember his
admonition to us. "Marines, treat my wife well. As long as
she comes home in a good mood, the chow in your hall will be
first rate. The first time she comes home in a bad mood with
one of your names on her lips, expect dog food from then on."
Mrs. Tallman got VIP treatment at all times.
LCpl Raines, Paul D., 3451
We Three Marines
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I joined our beloved Corps 11Jan62, arrived MCRDSD and stood
on the 'yellow foot prints'. Lived in Quonset huts, was in
Platoon 208 and we graduated Regimental Honor Platoon.
My first trip to TJ, Mex. was with two good friends. When we
returned to the good ole USA, we came back the same way we
went in, WRONG. We three Marines were arrested for "illegal
entrance into the United States". Seems we didn't come back
through customs, which was a little old man sitting on a
stool, asking if we brought anything back with us.
It took the Navy three days to return us to the 5th Marines
at Camp Pendleton. Every person I got a chance to ask,
including our Company Commander, was how can we three can be
charged with illegal entrance, when we were all born in this country and serving our Corps? No one could answer that question. Capt. Brown saw to it that our records were cleaned. Oohrah!
Dennis A. Williams
Your enlistment in the Corps has a beginning and end.
Your oath as a Marine does not!
Get A Brick
This is in reference to MGySgt. Jim Mackin's query in the
Sept. 20, 2012 issue of Sgt Grit concerning the M-14 Rifle. I
went through boot camp in Q Co. Plt 368 from Sept to Nov.
1962 and we had the M-14 at that time. I have no idea how
long they had been in use at the time. We qualified in late
Oct. and never had any incident with the ammo.
I qualified as Expert, after I finally realized what SIGHT
ALIGNMENT and SIGHT PICTURE meant on Pre-qual day, with a
222. Like you, I didn't see an M-1 Garand until I arrived at
Camp Geiger in Late Nov. and went to training 1 week before
Christmas, and then 2 weeks leave for Christmas, and New Year
then finished ITR in late Jan.1963. I don't remember any
yellow foot prints at Parris Island at that time either as
receiving was at H&S Bn which was down next to the then
commissary near Depot Hqtrs.
When I went thru boot camp the shoe laces were Left over
Right. We did have combination locks. We had a rifle hook,
which was a bent piece of a heavy coat hanger, used to hang
the rifle on the end of the bunk and secure it with a
combination lock. This was still in effect when I was on the
Drill Field from Dec.1970 to March 1973. I believe it was
what we taught also at OCS, Quantico from March 1973 to
FYI... to those that are interested, 3rd Recruit Bn. Barracks
as we knew them to be from the 60's to last year is now being
torn down. I was happy to get a brick from there this past
May at our 25th Drill Instructor Annual Reunion. Third Bn. is
now located where the SNCO Club and SNCO Housing was located
behind the 2nd Bn Barracks.
MGySgt Billy J. Russell
One Of My Worst Days
While waiting for the Invasion of Okinawa, we were on MogMog
island at Ulithi. I ran into a Sailor that graduated from
High School with my Brother. He happened to be with
Underwater Demolition Team 6 (I believe 6), he took me
swimming with Swim fins and a face plate. The water was clear
and bright, I got used to going down 15 feet or more on the
reef and collected Cat eyes and cat paws for making stuff
that eventually was thrown away. But diving in the clear
Pacific Waters was my favorite time during World War II and I
dove for years after.
During TET '68, the LZ of 1st Recon was used to offload dead
Marines. MedBn was just down the road and every space was
covered with Marine Dead so Our LZ was used. The Marines were
covered with Ponchos. During the last load, the Helicopter
was pulling up when some ponchos flew off and one caught on
one of the helicopters blades. The poncho Flew off the blade
but the helicopter was vibrating terribly, I thought it would
make a landing but he flew off to Monkey Mountain and I
assume he made it. This was one of my Worst days in Vietnam.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
Quality And Selection
Dear Sgt Grit,
About fine chow. For three months after I graduated from
MCRD San Diego in 1968 I was assigned to Graduate Casual at
3rd Bn HQ while waiting for orders that would send me up to
ITR... (a paperwork snafu... a phone call to HQMC would have
handled, but they insisted on it being on paper... and with
the war and all, I was a low priority).
The graduate casuals (most only around for a couple of weeks,
though two had been there for two years) were not fed in the
recruit mess... but rather in the mess underneath the Drill
Instructor barracks where the Drill Instructors ate when not
with their platoons. The food was the finest that I ever had
in the Marine Corps... both quality and selection... The
tables were waited upon by recruits during their mess week.
The Yellow Footprints - Becoming a Legend
It's fascinating to read all the memories from Recruit
Training. The more I read, the more I recall about my own
experiences. I remember the yellow footprints well. I knew
they were there. My brother-in-law enlisted around 1973 and
my brother enlisted in 1976. They'd warned me. So, when I
enlisted in 1978, I knew what was coming. At least I thought
I did. Boy was I wrong.
I distantly remember the Receiving Barracks Troop Handlers
screaming at me to get on "his" yellow footprints. I also
remember that he was at least 10'2" tall and weighed about
800 pounds. He was one big, mean, ugly, loud SOB. But,
everyone at MCRD San Diego scared me. I was 18 years old,
5'4" tall and weighed 105 pounds. Even the dirt was above my
lowly rank. (To Cpl V. DeLeon, MCRD 1965: I think we were
greeted by the same "cough" gentlemen).
It's even more fascinating to learn that no one knows exactly
when our famous yellow footprints first appeared. In my
opinion, it doesn't really matter. In 1916 Marines had never
been called "Devil Dogs." And, in 1941 The Corps had never
heard of Mount Suribachi. But, both of those have become
part of our proud history. So, whether you stood on them or
not, or made your own (by having the p-ss scared out of you);
we all started in the same place. We all worked to achieve
the same goal. Over time, our hallowed yellow footprints
have become woven into the fabric of our history. They've
become part of our legend. They've become the first step in
our journey. They're the symbol that "you've arrived!" Now,
stop eye-balling the area!
Our history is a work in progress. We've been building on it
since 1775. We're not done yet. We're MARINES!
Sergeant of Marines
In your Sept 19 issue Don Harkness wrote about "fine dining"
thru his time in our Corps. A fine item as far as it went,
but he didn't address the "fine dining" one experiences
between hops or at the end of the day when one returns after
dark with all his body parts in the same condition they were
when he launched at zero dark thirty that morning.
VMO-6 Crew Chief
Probably sometime during 1968.
No Telling What Else
Always look forward to your newsletter. Seems like everybody
is talking about their fellow recruit from boot camp. Well I
can only name a few and one of them found me through the Sgt
Grit newsletter. As a PMI Instructor at Edson Range, I
remember one Pvt, but not his name. It was jail for him or
the Marines. He chose the Marines. Any way the first day at
the range he shot the first 5 or 6 rounds right in front of
me, and hisrapid fire was not any better. By Wednesday, his
D.I. was a little happy 'cause they knew if he didn't get a
score of 196 he would have to be sent back a week. On
Thursday, he was at 95 points. His D.I. started packing his
bags. Then on Friday, the first 10 rounds hit 9 bulls eyes
and 1 in the 4 mark.
What the h-ll was going on? In the rapid fire 18 out of 20 in
the bull's-eye. The Lt and Capt went down to the target and
spotted the target themselves. He finished up at the 300 and
was at the 500 yard mark when I asked him about all the sh-t
and h-ll he went through all week. The pain and no telling
what else seemed funny to him. He had been using a rifle
since he was about 5 years old. I could not tell you his name
or where he was from. This was in August of 1970. I do
remember my D.I.s names and there was one person from THE
NAM named roger from Hotel Co, 2/4 that I would like to see
more than anybody. And guess where he is from? Yes, he is
from Oklahoma City. Always called me w-tb-ck and a few other names of that sort, but it was all in fun. In return, I would call him a few.
One other thing, you posted a reunion about 2/4 back in June.
I took my two grandsons to it and it was just awesome. That
was the first one and I/we will be at the next one. As they
say, we have brothers and sisters all over the world and that
weekend was like family coming together, meeting one another
like we were never apart. We all had our own story and we
Thanks Sgt Grit for all that you do.
Short Timers Jacket
Sgt Grit, I've been reading your great newsletter (and
ordering items from you) for quite a few years. I'm putting
my two cents in on the Yellow Foot Prints. When I went to
MCRDSD in Sept. of 59 (Plt 273) there were definitely no
Yellow Foot Prints. I still have my Recruit Book and saw no
photos or reference to them.
In response to J. Womack in the newsletter of 9/19/2012
Utilities. If I recall it right, the trousers also had hidden
button flaps and the jacket had an inside pocket with a
button. I can't remember if it was on the right or left
side. I believe they were of a herringbone material. We
called them Utes, Dungarees or Utilities. Attached is a photo
of me in Utes and of my short timers jacket from Hawaii.
Lloyd "Pappy" Reynolds
C/1/4 0311, 0331 - F/2/4 0331 1960-1962
B/1st/Tks 1811 1962-1963
B/3rd/Tks 1811 1966-1968 Vietnam
5th MP Bn, H&S 5th Tk Bn, Tracked Vehicle School 1968-1970
We Hope Not
I'm late in reading the newsletter from 9/12 - Somebody
please tell me to stop the bend and thrusts already?
Regarding the submission from Sgt Bob Imm about MCAS Yuma:
MAG-32 was there in '66 for bombing practice, and of course,
we Had to explore San Luis, along with both Gunnies from
H&MS-32 Radar. It hadn't yet acquired the name "San Disease."
The morning after, Cpl Smitty and I staggered back across the
border on our way back to base and the Customs Agent/Border
Patrol officer (frankly, I don't remember who it was) asked
us if we had anything to declare. As if we'd planned it, we
both answered (in unison) "We hope not!"
Also, in response to the submission from 1stLt Peter Dunev
about laces being NOT left over right, but outboard over
inboard. His PI DIs may have required it as he stated, but in
Plt 237 at SD in '65, it was decreed "left over right." I ran
into several PI Marines at NATTC Memphis in the Fall of '65
who laced theirs left over right, as well.
Semper Fi - SEMPER!
Sgt of Marines, '65-'69
He Was Meaner
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Crazy what you remember from Boot Camp as a first impression!
When we were in a platoon for a week or so, and trying to get
into a new routine, ( as hectic as it was!), our Senior Drill
Instructor had us around him on a Sunday morning, casual -
and a less hectic mood as he tried to lighten up a little and
put us at ease.
He said, "I was a recruit once just as you, and I went
through h-ll just as you are going thru as well. My Senior
Drill Instructor was named Staff Sergeant Brown, and he was
meaner and more sadistic then I ever could be." Could you
believe that? Thank the Lord no one answered that thought!
He then said that Staff Sergeant Brown told them that, Brown
was the color of SH-T, and that if anyone F----D with him, he
would SH-T all over them. He also quoted that sh-t rolled
down hill, and he was always on the top of the hill, and we
were below him.
Seriously, all of the D.I.s did what we did, and we respected
that, if not the D.I.s, but what they represented, and how
they had such a short time to turn us into something from
individuals into a unit of doers.
Aside from expressions as the right way, the wrong way and
the Marine Corps Way, a lot of us remember insignificant
things. But these inane ways of remembering what to do and
how to do it could save your life as well as the lives of
I went to Parris Island in 1963, and I am older, wiser, and
smarter because of this encounter, ( The Best Kind).
Went to boot camp June of '79, graduated that August. I
remember the footprints well. I also remember our PMI wearing
sateen's still. We were issued the cammies, which the Drill
Instructors also wore of course. Also, when we ran PT we
always wore our boots, we saw some of the other Platoons
wearing tennis shoes, but we never got them. That's my "Old
I went to 2111 small arms school in Aberdeen, Maryland. I
remember seeing guys with coveralls on that said M1 Abrams on
their backs. We were told by others that this was the new
tank that was going to put all others to shame, and they were
in the final stages of development. Never did see one though.
Sgt of Marines
As always I read the newsletter front to rear and back to
front again to make sure I didn't miss anything. After all
it has been 47 years since I arrived at PI, '0-dark-thirty,
yellow footprints? And while my aim is still good, I do get
an occasional 'Maggie's Drawers'. I want to add my 2-cents
on several of the stories in this newsletter.
Sgt Bisher, you beat me to VN by several months, Sept '66 for
me, but I'm certain we didn't fly around in Chinooks. The
Army did but Marines were in CH-46's or as some called them,
To MGySgt Mackin, you are correct, my PI Platoon 290,
September 1965, qualified with the M-14. I to didn't see the
M-1 until ITR at Stone Bay.
Finally, to Larry Fleagle, I wasn't a tanker, but after my
tour in VN I thought about it. The M-60 was definitely a Tank
not a Retriever. The Tank Retriever was the M-88. The M-60
was the upgrade to the M-48, a bigger gun was the biggest
upgrade from a 90mm to a 105mm I believe.
Definitely not as 'lean' but arguably still as 'mean' and
that is usually enough.
Get Out Of My Sight
Feel like a real old timer as I read the various posts.
Joined the Corps in July '45 but had to wait till they called
me in early August 1945 (the war ended while I was in boot
I was 5'5 190 pounds 36 inch waist and 44 inch hips. The
first day the Senior DI, Sgt P.R. Morris, Platoon 90, had us
scrub the deck of our barracks (wooden second deck). As I
walked past him carrying 2 buckets of water he called to me
and said "chick" as we were called then. "What is your name?"
I replied, "McKellar Sir!" His reply, "What, General?" I
replied, "No Sir! Private." He told me to turn around and
pick up the buckets. As I did he said, "I do not want to see
you walk one day during the time you are here!" He kicked me
by the side of his foot and said, "Get out of my sight."
Eight weeks later I was wearing 2M Trousers (about 28 inch
waist) at that time, we surveyed our worn out clothing,
turning in the old for new. I had to get my DI to vouch that
I went from a 36 special to 2M.
Many years later, I was a DI myself (following Korea), the
toughest post I ever held, but by far the most rewarding.
Made Gunny (by far the best rank I ever held), then I was
meritoriously selected as a regular line officer and 2nd Lt.
Retired after 21 years.
203rd Marine Corps Birthday Ball
I found these goodies while rummaging through some boxes
stuffed away in a closet. Don't know if you can use them in
any of your newsletters. The first is a Dining-In at MAG-39
put on 15Jun79 and the next is a dinner menu from the 203rd
Marine Corps Birthday 10Nov78.
I haven't seen anything on Dining-In's in any other
newsletters, is this a thing of the past? Keep on with the
great newsletter and great products. Semper Fi!
Check Out Our Facebook Page
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
If you remember last month I explained or, tried to, the Air
Medal and the different devices that you may see affixed to
the Ribbon bar. Well, hopefully, I got the info out to you
were you could understand it because now I'm confused, not
really, Just kidding. A recent trip to Camp Pendleton and
the Base Exchange made me realize just how much things had
changed. But, I don't want to get into that, I just want to
fill you in on Aircrew Wings and how they are achieved and
awarded. I will tell you that their not half as confusing as
the Air Medal which I covered last month. Again, I'm going
back to the same book that we used as reference last month.
The Combat Aircrew Insignia is an oxidized silver-colored
winged metal pin, with a gold colored circular shield with a
superimposed fouled anchor: the word "AIRCREW" in raised
letters on a silver-colored background below the circular
shield, above the shield is a silver colored scroll. Gold
stars up to a total of three, as merited, are mounted on the
scroll. The Combat Aircrew Wings are awarded to air crewmen
who have participated in aerial flight during combat, and
those enlisted personnel who qualify for non-technical
aircrew positions and serve in those positions in aerial
flight. The MARINE must be a volunteer and a regularly
assigned member of a flight crew on board a MARINE Aircraft
participating in Combat operations. The MARINE must also be
a graduate of an established course of instruction and or OJT
qualifying him for a position in the flight crew of a MARINE
Combat aircrew who have qualified to wear the combat stars
may wear the Combat Aircrew Insignia on a permanent basis. A
maximum of three combat stars may be awarded for display on
the Combat Aircrew Insignia. A MARINE who qualified to wear
the Naval Aircrew Insignia and the Combat Aircrew Insignia
has the option of wearing the one of his choice. It should
also be noted that to maintain an Aircraftmen qualifications
he will be tested and trained on a constant basis. He will
have what is called a "Check Ride" by a NATOPS Instructor.
The Instructor will present different hypothetical problems
to the Crew member being qualified or re-qualified, to see if
the crew member re-acts in the proper manner and if they take
the prescribed action to neutralize the situation presented
by the instructor. He at this point will either maintain his
qualification or will require additional training.
The abbreviation NATOPS, stands for Naval Aviation Training
and Operations Procedures Standardization. This standard is
service wide (NAVY and MARINE CORPS) and once a Crew member
is qualified in a particular Aircraft type, he or she must
maintain that qualification until they take on a different
job or decide to drop their flight status. Flight status is
extra money providing you get at least 4 hours of flight
every month. It was $110 a month when I was flying.
Now, If you think that $110 a month extra was a good deal
then I'm going to ask you if you liked canned SPAM. Sure the
money went further in those days, (early 60's to early 70's
), but the hours that you had to put in to keep your Aircraft
in the air was sometimes excessive. Sure, the end of the
normal work day in CONUS was at 1630 ,but we many times
didn't get back to "Home Plate" (Santa Ana) until after then
and that's when the work started. Greasing, lubing, fixing
and cleaning was the next order of business. Getting ready
for tomorrow and hoping it would be better than today!
Can anybody tell me what the inverted "V's" on our tanks
represent? I've been trying to find out since the first Iraq
Jim Everson's posting reminded me of leaflets that we also
encountered from the National Front for Liberation.
I served in RVN from 1967 to '68 with 3rd Amtracs. Our CP was
at Marble Mountain.
When on patrol south of Marble Mountain we often encountered
propaganda left by the National Front for Liberation. A
bamboo stake split at the top and driven in the ground would
hold the leaflet. Often, the portion of bamboo driven into
the ground would be holding the spoon of a grenade in place.
If you pulled the stake out of the ground...BOOM. To my
knowledge, nobody got hurt by this particular booby trap
because we were familiar with it.
The scans of these leaflets are very good. The poor quality
is exactly what their printing press produced.
Sgt, USMC 1966-70
Return To PI
On September 14th, the members of PLT 150, 1962, returned to
Parris Island for their 50th reunion. It amazed many of the
attendants that were there for a graduation ceremony, that 30
members of a platoon 50 years ago would be able to return to
the Island, because this is a very rare and unusual
In 1962, our troops were going through a war in Vietnam. Not
all members of Plt 150 went to Nam, but those who did, served
with Pride and Glory. Not one member was lost in the Asian
action. Some had been wounded, but all came home.
The reunion was a fantastic rekindling of our partnership and
brotherhood. Many were found with the help of Sgt Grit.
Marched To Supply
1. M-1/M-14 issue dates. M-14's were issued to different
units at different times, mostly during 1962 on Pendleton. My
Red Patchers went to a school in early May of '62 (auditorium
setting) where we were introduced to M-14 and M-60 the same
day. Just nomenclature and care and cleaning.
I was to get out on the 25th of June 1962. On the 24th,
everyone in the company was marched to supply and turned in
their M-1's. Then stepped to the next table and drew a M-14.
I didn't get one because I only had a "Wake Up".
2. Short timers. Our tradition was for the deck of cards. "52
and a wake up". The lowest boot in the outfit got the first
one... the Joker. After you got your discharge papers, the
next one to check out got the Ace of Spades. (I received the
Ace one day and passed out my own Ace the next.)
Red Patcher 58-62
Thanks Sgt. Grit. I'm the Marine who's wife is doing the
bathroom. I'm sending pictures. Also, I make rifle and
pistol targets, I'm making one for you and will be standing
by it with my 338 Lapua and my 308 and 716 sniper rifles
along on my hip. My 5.7 shoots 246 feet per second. Thank
you for all you do. I'm going to try and break the world
record held by a Britt 1702. I'm going for 1720 with my
Ret. Sgt Thiery Will
1st Recon Bn Charlie Co.
1st Marine Division
Purple Heart Recipient
Fallen Hero's Dream Ride
On 22 September 2012, The Fallen Hero's Dream Ride was
escorted by the Oklahoma Patriot Guard to the Sgt Grit
facility in Oklahoma City, OK. Jason and Julie Vinnedge,
father and mother of LCpl Phillip Vinnedge, were on an across
country tour to help raise funds for the following charities:
Toys For Tots, Missouri Military Memorial Fund, Gold Star
Mothers, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors,
just to name a few.
LCpl Vinnedge was KIA while serving in Afghanistan on 13
October 2010. He served with Weapons Company, 3rd Bn, 5th
Marine Regiment. The Fallen Hero's Dream Ride is a memorial
dedicated to the memory of LCpl Vinnedge and the 24 other
Marines that lost their lives during 3/5s deployment.
The Sgt Grit staff and customers really enjoyed the visit and
look forward to seeing the Vinnedges and the Dream Ride again
at our 2013 Annual Gritogether.
If you would like to read more about the Fallen Hero's Dream
Ride, a link to the website is below.
We Salute You
We are always so excited when customers come from all over
the United States, just to stop in and tell us how much we
mean to them! Sgt Pena traveled from Fort Worth, Texas, where
he serves as a Police Officer. He is still very dedicated to
celebrating his Marine Corps heritage. He holds a Marine
Corps birthday celebration every year in Fort Worth, where
hundreds of Marines join him to celebrate their birthday.
We have always sent a little something to them to make the
celebration that much better, and to ride all the way here
just to say thank you, well that is quite honorable. We
Salute you Sgt Pena for your hard work and dedication making
that big event happen for your brothers and sisters. Oorah
and Semper Fidelis!
Don Harkness wrote of the 'ambience' of shipboard dining, and
I totally agree with him about meals in heavy seas. I
'liberated' a Navy hammock. Which was a sheet of canvas with
each end, while sailing on the LPH Guadalcanal and as long as
I didn't open my eyes, the world was perfectly still. In
rough seas, I begged saltines from the messman and stayed put
with crackers and a canteen. But true 'dining' was available
in the Corps on off-duty Sundays, and the brunch schedule
that we enjoyed at the messhall off Courthouse Bay, next to
2nd Div. MP barracks.
We would mosey over about 0800, have eggs any way, with ham,
grits, (I'm from Kentucky), pancakes, coffee and best of all
ice cold chocolate milk, thick and rich. Read the Sunday
paper over breakfast and about 1030-1100, start the whole
thing all over again. I have never, to this day, had
chocolate milk as good the messhalls served.
Semper Fi, Brothers and Sisters.
Spread out, one grenade will get you all!
Reading the articles about cooks, started my process of
remembrances during my active time in the "Corps", 1965 to
1969. Three incidents come to mind: 1. during my "boot camp"
at 2nd Battalion in PI, I was assigned mess duty at 1st
Battalion (the twilight zone). That week started with
scrubbing pots and pans but an allergy to the soaps being
used I ended up in the "spud locker" ( the best possible mess
duty assignment). That duty provided a high degree of
autonomy as we were located outside the main messhall near
the bay. As long as the salads and vegetables got into the
kitchen on time there was no harassment from the messmen.
2. In 1966, I was aboard the USS Yancey, AKA 93, on a tour of
the Mediterranean. Our senior Navy messman was named
Heinzpeter and I must confess it was always a pleasure to
participate in the offerings provided in his award winning
messdecks (in spite of all food stuffs that disappeared into
the Marine landing gear during the "hiline" replenishment).
3. By 1967, I was running convoys in the northern "I" Corps
area from Dong Ha to Landing Zone Stud (Vandegrift combat
base). As we left early and got back late, we depended on the
"good" nature of the cooks for fresh warm bread and butter
before leaving on the convoy and for whatever could be
"scrounged" upon our return.
My appreciation of cooks was later dimmed somewhat because I
was beat out for meritorious promotions, once by cooks and
once by laundrymen.
Sgt JH Jones
Connected With His Head
How well do I remember the footprints at MCRD in February
1966. We arrived In San Diego just before midnight and took a
detour to relieve ourselves. All of a sudden in comes Sgt
Miller asking who gave you permission to use the head. After
that, on the bus, keep your eyes to the front.
A ride on the bus to the yellow footprints at MCRD. We were
told not to talk, and not to look to either side. My friend
who I joined with turned his head and ask me if I was OK and
all of a sudden a flashlight connected with his head. How
did the DI see that in the dark. My friend did not say a
word to me for three days. My friend got out on a medical
discharge and I spent nine great years in the Corps.
Cordell A. Stephens
Dear Sgt. Grit,
RE: J. Womack's question about "the utilities used in the
late 60's to early 70's that had the concealed buttons on the
pocket flaps and the front of the jacket..."
They were first issued sometime around the end of the Korean
War (the first handful in "herringbone..."). I believe that
all stocks had been exhausted sometime around the start of
the Vietnam War. Our "yearbooks" in August of 1968 at
graduation from MCRD San Diego had two sections... a generic
section and a later one specific to our platoon. The first
section was assembled years before and the "hidden button"
shirts were all that you saw. By our time we had the same
contract issue as the Army and the other services with the
visible (and much thicker) buttons in the same general fabric
as the hidden button variety.
The "Gomer Pyle" shirts, as he refers to them, had a far
better appearance and were greatly admired and desired.
After graduation I spent 3 months at 3rd Bn HQ in Graduate
Casual waiting for orders before being sent up to ITR. While
there I discovered that you could buy entire uniforms at the
base laundry (that had been abandoned) for the cost of the
cleaning (65 cents as I recall...). I purchased several sets
of utilities including one set of the "hidden button" type
(see photo of my set). For the rest of my enlistment I was
offered serious money by lads who lusted after a set.
The large map pouch inside the left side of the shirt made it
unsuitable for seriously hot climates. As to the trousers
that went with it, after 44 years, I can't remember about the
back buttons, but I do remember that there were no pocket
flaps on the back.
James F. Owings
'65, MCRD SD, Special Training Branch... STB had several
different sections... Casual, Correctional Custody,
Motivation, Hand-to Hand Combat, Bayonet, and Pork Chop
Platoon, AKA PCP or Physical Conditioning Platoon. One of
the DI's in PCP was Sgt Mike (pretty good sized guy, from
Mankato, MN)... Tae Kwon Do was relatively new in the US,
also called 'Korean Karate' at the time, and we had a MSGT
Edwards who was the #1 or #2 rated in this martial art in the
US at the time... soft-spoken, sorta califlower ears, almost
made you think of a kindly old gent. He had been in Recon
Company in Korea, had gone on over 50 consecutive night
patrols, had a great story about a kitty-cat jumping on his
shoulder from a creek bank during a patrol.
Mike had really, really gotten into this Karate thing... had
a rope over an inside roof beam in the PCP DI office for
groin stretches, (stood on one foot, had the other in a loop
on the rope, kept pulling) would sit for hours punching his
open hand into a full bucket, until he could penetrate all
the way to the bottom... he started that with something like
beans then rice, then pebbles, etc. He was fast... although
not as fast as old Top Edwards, who could catch flies in his
hand, and could pop his ghee sleeves like a shoe-shine rag.
One of the marks of a serious practitioner of the skill in
the day was the presence of two round black calluses on the
first two knuckles of the striking hand... from memory, also
seen as embroidered patches on the ghee. Mike, of course,
could be heard all over the area with his "Kee-Aii" when he
was working out, punching things, etc.
It was difficult to get orders off the drill field at the
time, despite most of us having done well over the usual two
years, and Mike was one of the lucky ones... he got orders
fairly early on. We were all jealous that he was going to
get to go fight the war, while we were stuck in the rear with
the gear and the beer, but at his farewell party (I remember
some of it... there were these two nurses Mike had been
'seeing', and they found out about each other at the party),
but I cautioned him repeatedly that when he 'got over there
and got some, not to forget his Kee-Aii.
Orders finally came, and on my way to join K/3/5 at Schwab
just before we embarked as the SLF, I happened to run into
Mike at the transient center at Hansen... I asked him what he
was doing there? Seems he was assigned as a troop handler,
while convalescing from wounds... he opened his shirt to show
me three wounds... said he had been snooping and pooping up a
trail, when this g--k jumped up and shot him... so I asked if
he had remembered his "kee-aii!"
He said... "oh, yeah"... I looked down, saw those three
streams of blood and went "KEE-AII!"... have seen pictures of
him on his second tour as a DI after that... at the museum,
along with my bud 'Bro Grubbs', another STB instructor.
My apologies to those who have mastered the discipline... not
at all sure that is the correct spelling for either the
clothing or the exclamation of extreme concentration... tried
it (karate) myself in later years, lacked the flexibility to
be any good at it... selected another discipline instead, now
have a 7th-degree in 'KADOW!' for self-defense (this involves
an M1911A1 with six and one BTHP... should be enough to get
the job done, if needed?)
"Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to
restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to
restrain the government-lest it come to dominate our lives
"I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep
the money you've earned, but not greed to want to take
somebody else's money."
--Thomas Sowell, Economist and Marine Veteran
"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is
by the sword. The other is by debt."
--John Adams, 1826
"A golf course is a willful and deliberate misuse of a
perfectly good rifle range."
"The more MARINES I have around the better I like it!"
--Gen. Mark Clark, U.S. Army
"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it!"
--Jonathan Winters, Marine Veteran
"The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate evil
than from those who actually commit it."
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they
have been fooled."
"We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem!"
--Chesty Puller, USMC
"I pulled mess duty at the last supper."
"I was assigned to the Marine Detachment on Noah's Ark."
"I have more flight time jumping out of the back of six-bys,
than you have in the Marine Corps."